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I run out of Coke and my usual supplier does not sell it anymore. Australia is exporting all coal to China and the only place that makes coke does not want to sell retail anymore. Or so I am told.

So bought from a new supplier who believe it or not, imports coke from China. (oh my)

This is what happens: 

At starting time all is normal, fires up, plenty hot, not problems. After a few hours of working, the hot coals and replenishing with more, I can tell the air is not coming through the heart of the fire and all efforts to unblock the airflow down the grate are fruitless. The fire slowly turns into a gooey mass and all the coals stick together by a myriad of little bits of clinker.

Rather than forming big chunks of clinker I can fish out of the fire and keep on going, it seems to develop very small bits of clinker that eventually block the air flow through the fire so the air blows between the fire and the firepot melting the edges of the fire pot. 

At that point I must stop and let the coals cool down. By then I am usually done anyway. Next day i put the left over coals in a seeve and the little bit of clinker not bigger than 1/4" fall out and I can use what is left of the coals.

Unfortunately I bought 500 pounds of this stuff so I am stuck with it for a while. Not that I know what to buy next time. I may have to switch to coal. 

What do you think?

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I don't know of a hard answer but you might try settling it out in water. Basically mix it with water and allow it to settle out. The mineral content should settle first at the bottom of the water column. Yeah, I know you don't even have to say it. China is using all the coke it can get. My thought is they're selling what doesn't meet their specs.

Is there an oil refinery within a reasonable distance? They may offer petroleum coke. That's about all that's available here and you have to know somebody who knows somebody, then. . . Maybe.

Coal could be it. Buck up, we have to dig our own and pack it down with a wheel barrow unless you can get a rig into the seam without beating it up too badly. Ever try to keep a loaded wheelbarrow under control going down a steep trail? Half full plastic buckets is less work and less likely to injure you or crash into the pickup at speed.

I don't burn propane because it's my first choice.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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I see a nice big gas forge in my future.

I like the one Alec Steele made with two nice big openings and two burners. Seems to work well ... at least in his videos. :)

Having said that, I couldn't use a gas forge to heat up the bits of the gate I am working on. Too big and twisted for a gas forge.

How do you mean water? Wash it? 

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Sounds like you need a torch to go with the propane forge, I have one.

When soil is mixed into a thin solution in water and allowed to settle the denser material settles out first and the lightest last. This forms distinct layers sand at the bottom clay on top. 

This wouldn't be a simple thing to use processing 500 lbs. without some special equipment and if it's in very large pieces it might not work at all. If you want to give it a try do it in a SMALL batch first, say 10 lbs. You'll need fairly deep water container that holds say 10x the weight of water.  You have to mix it violently enough to get it all in suspension or at least off the bottom when you stop moving it. Then wait. 

Another method would be to make an air mixer, basically a bubbler strong enough to get things roiling. Denser material will settle out once you hit the right air flow rate. shut it off and it settles out in gradation like the above method. 

Unfortunately if the mineral content is locked up in the coke then all you'd be doing is separating the denser coke which MIGHT be good enough. 

I sure wish I knew a good method that wasn't more appropriate for the plant making or using the coke.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Hi Marc ,

                I  had the same problem with a supplier of coke here in Victoria , was supplying " cricket ball " sized coke , that i'd have to crush down to a usable size , then when burning i'd end up with firepot clogged up with fine clinkers / ash .

Found mixing it with lump charcoal improved it a lot , thou still ended up with firepot full of clinker / ash at end of forging day .

Have since switched to using straight charcoal , as coke is getting harder & harder to get here now  .

Hope this helps you some what with your problem .

 

Dale Russell

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Yes, I can still buy coal, in fact I use it to start the fire by mixing a hand full with the coke. Makes it easier to get it going.

I could buy more coal and mix it with my dodgy coke I suppose. That, or mix it with charcoal. 

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